What are the salaries of the cooks on average

What cooks earn

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The job description of a cook varies with the respective company in which he works: A gourmet restaurant faces different logistical challenges than a small tavern, a large or company kitchen or a catering company.

A cook is primarily responsible for the preparation and preparation of meals, but also for all necessary administrative and organizational tasks such as purchasing and reordering food or looking after the warehouse. The following often applies: the larger the company, the more strictly the separation of the areas of responsibility. Large kitchen brigades are usually divided according to the type of food prepared. For example, a saucier primarily takes care of the sauce and meat preparation, while an entremetier is responsible for starters and side dishes and a pastry chef prepares the desserts, although there can be more detailed subdivisions. In smaller companies, chefs often act as generalists.

The daily endurance test

The ability to work in a team and high social skills are required in every kitchen, as the kitchen team has to maintain good communication with each other - often also on an intercultural level - in order to cope with the work-intensive everyday kitchen routine. Above all, cooks must be able to cope with physical and mental stress and have a high level of stress resistance. The high dependency on the weather and the shift and part-time work that is common in the industry also require a high degree of flexibility and the willingness to work irregularly. Last but not least, the cooking profession is a creative profession that requires a high level of commitment and mobility.

The spectrum of training and further education opportunities is wide: aspiring chefs usually find access to the profession through vocational colleges, technical schools or an apprenticeship. Many large catering and hotel chains offer in-house training. In addition, chefs always have the option of taking a master craftsman's examination and stepping into self-employment. The Austrian Hoteliers Association, the Federation of Austrian Hospitality Companies or the WIFI offer a wide range of opportunities for further training and specialization.

Big differences in salary

The chosen access to the profession is also reflected in the salary, whereby the payment is strongly based on the collective agreement, especially at the beginning. As a young professional, a chef with an apprenticeship qualification earns 19,000 to 21,500 euros gross per year, with a school qualification between 20,200 and 22,000 euros.

A trained chef with professional experience has an annual gross income of between 24,500 and 31,700 euros, depending on the type of business, and as a sous chef it is 27,200 to 35,900 euros. Professional experience, negotiating skills and the level of the kitchen subsequently determine the level of income with a very wide range and a certain gray area.

A chef in a smaller establishment usually earns between 40,000 and 45,000 euros, in more upscale restaurants usually between 60,000 and 70,000 euros. The salaries of top earners are well over 100,000 euros gross per year.

In more and more companies, tips for cooks are usually provided for around one percent of daily turnover, but this is not a common practice.


Conrad Pramböck is an international salary expert and managing director of Upstyle Consulting. He has been advising companies on salaries for over 20 years.


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